Offense catches spark after strong words

Offense catches spark after strong words

PITTSBURGH -- The Mets have totaled 12 runs in 14 innings at Pittsburgh, equaling the total from their previous six games -- on the heels of Mets manager Jerry Manuel calling the Mets' offensive production "pathetic" in Houston.

Hitting coach Howard Johnson had stern words for his players before the series opener on Friday, although it may also help that the Pirates are 29th in the Majors with a 5.08 ERA.

"I don't like to meet with guys like that," Johnson said after the Mets' 5-1 victory over the Pirates on Saturday night in a game called by rain in the top of the sixth. "But we've got [39] games left, and that's our focus."

The Mets went into Saturday's game ranked 14th in the 16-team National League with a .248 batting average and 13th in runs scored, ahead of only the Pirates, the Nationals and the Astros. They were averaging 4.06 runs per game going into Friday's contest.

"Too much gets made out of meetings," said David Wright, who hit a three-run homer Saturday night. "A lot of times, I think meetings get overrated. I would love to say that HoJo gave us some sort of wisdom, and that's why we won the last two games, but the fact is we're starting to get some hits."